Saturday, September 6, 2014

Be A Rebel: Daydream

Idle Thoughts by Jim Carpenter, Acrylic on Paper, 10.25" x 8.25" 

"How the idle at heart suffer for their daydreaming. How cruel the bureaucrats, teachers, and usurers, who tell us our visions and fancies are a waste of time." - Tom Hodgkinson

Meeting the Challenge: On Being Idle, Day 6 

Today is day 6 of Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge. At one point I wondered if I was going to paint at all today. I did my morning running routine - a 37 minute "ramble" in the rain through my neighborhood we call "the forest" for its trees and its creek. I kept thinking about yesterday's post "This is rambling! Pay attention!" Then I made breakfast and we settled into watching 2 episodes of "Homeland." Was I being idle? Yes. Idle so I could better consume an art form - acting, script writing, fiction. Even now I'm listening to a beautiful piece of music - Oblivion - as I create this bit of text.  When I finally decided to get to the painting, I turned on the music, and got to work. I should have timed it, because this painting really did emerge easily. But as I told another artist friend today, these paintings don't happen quickly. They go through a lot before they emerge. This painting had several incarnations before it was obliterated and became "Idle Thoughts." I might liken it to rehearsing a play for 7 weeks before the play finally appears on opening night. Ah, the creative process!

Idle Thoughts: Idle Conversation

I love the tilt of the head in the figure in green. What, I wonder, is he thinking? To my mind he is curious. Contemplative. Questioning.  He's almost looking at that figure sideways, a slight turn of the body under those robes. And when I look at the face on the giant figure I know that this is not a static meeting: the two figures are in communion with one another. That looming spirit is looking back, watching that robed figure with a knowing focus, and perhaps with a bit of amusement. He is another benevolent figure that appears in various guises in my paintings. I'm happy for that. 

It's a good thing these two figures don't have to run off to work at the mill. They can take their time and contemplate whatever the questions might be and pose possible answers. Or not. Maybe they are there to just think and observe.

I'm Really An Idle Daydreamer At Heart

So really, what is this all about? The paintings with the figures? The talk about being idle?  I'm "working on" not working. How is that for irony? This is all about having fun not having work. And I'm working on fully owning that I paint what I paint because that is what I paint and I enjoy it. I like to spend time wondering "why" I paint these things - and I like to daydream about where these paintings come from. 

How weird is it that this painting today was hidden in a painting that I cut in half yesterday and rubbed out with alcohol? And how weird is it that the painting fits perfectly with my theme of being idle so you can daydream and contemplate what it means to be in this world? How weird is it that the painting ends up being in sync with my theme? I do not plan ahead of time what I am going to paint and the painting. I look at the paper and look for the painting.  

I think maybe it is not weird at all. I think that it may just be what the creative process is all about.


  1. wonderful! It is like you respond to what happens with each mark you make.

  2. Ahhhh... daydreaming. For me the dark figure keeps changing. Are his hands clasped in front, or behind him? I see both. Love the texture on the left. Sitting here contemplating.... or am I daydreaming about being able to paint like Jim? Thanks for sharing the sound of your studio with us :)

    1. I almost mentioned the possibility that his hands are clasped behind him. I deliberately left that vague - I mean, I was faced with the choice of delineating it or of leaving it as an ambiguity and chose to leave it undefined. So the viewer can have it either way. Thank you for the daydream.